Is there a difference between noun clauses and relative clauses? If yes, what is it?

I found pretty much the same description of both so I wonder if the definitions are interchangeable.

  • I think your question is not clear. Which noun clauses and relative clauses are you talking about? – Mido Mido Jan 7 '18 at 17:10
  • It would help if you pointed us to some of the places where you have found "pretty much the same description" of each. – J.R. Jan 7 '18 at 18:10

That a clause can do the same job as a noun is the reason for the label "noun clause", although I prefer "nominative clause" or even "content clause". The idea that a clause can do the same job as a noun is related to the reason for the label "relative clause", although that relationship is one step away.

In the first sentence above, the that-clause is nominative. In the second, the same clause is relative.

The difference lies not in the clause itself but in the role it plays. Even though the exact same clause can play either role, those roles are not the same. The terms are not interchangeable.

My wife is an office manager -- same person, two different roles. It would be a mistake to think that "wife" and "office manager" are interchangeable terms.

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